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Romania Picks S. Korea’s K9 Thunder Howitzers for Massive Artillery Upgrade

The Romanian Ministry of National Defense has selected South Korea’s K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers to modernize its artillery fleet.

The decision was announced following a meeting between Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tîlvăr and his South Korean counterpart, Won-sik Shin, during the latter’s recent visit to Bucharest.

A total of 54 K9 Thunders manufactured by Hanwha will be handed over to the Romanian Armed Forces to form three modern artillery battalions.

The agreement has an estimated cost of 4.2 billion Romanian leu ($906 million).

According to local reports, Hanwha edged out Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann with its Panzerhaubitze 2000 armored howitzer, and Turkey’s BMC Otomotiv with the T-155 Fırtına, a Turkish variant of the K9 Thunder.

In addition to the self-propelled guns, South Korea will supply 10 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles, related gear, and ammunition.

About the K9 Thunder

First entering service in 1999, the K9 Thunder is a highly mobile artillery system that fires NATO-standard 155-millimeter ammunition.

It boasts a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds per minute for three minutes.

The weapon also supports a “shoot-and-scoot” strategy, redeploying in under 60 seconds to reduce the risk of counterattack.

Using standard ammunition, the K9 can hit targets up to 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) away, extendable to around 54 kilometers (33.5 miles).

Its eight-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine also provides a top speed of more than 67 kilometers (41.6 miles) per hour and an operational range of 360 kilometers (223.6 miles).

With the new contract, Romania will now be the 10th country to order the self-propelled howitzers, along with Poland, Australia, Norway, Finland, and Egypt.

Closer Ties

The agreement highlights the growing defense relationship between Romania and South Korea.

Apart from the K9 deal, the countries are poised to collaborate on the development of an infantry fighting vehicle.

Hyundai Rotem also recently demonstrated its K2 Black Panther main battle tank in Romania.

“I can promise Korea will be the optimal partner for Romania’s ongoing military modernization project,” Shin said.

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